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(L-R): Rosenstein, Sessions, McCabe. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

ABC News is reporting that Andrew McCabe, who was fired last week as the FBI’s deputy director days before he was set to retire, authorized a criminal investigation into Attorney General Jeff Sessions last year.

About the investigation: Per ABC, it was into whether Sessions “lacked candor when testifying before Congress about contacts with Russian operatives,” and top lawmakers from both parties were briefed on it by McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. A source close to Sessions told Axios that "he was not aware of this investigation at the time McCabe was fired."

The investigation was passed on to Robert Mueller "within weeks" when he was appointed Special Counsel, per ABC.

Sessions' lawyer, Chuck Cooper, told ABC: "The Special Counsel's office has informed me that after interviewing the attorney general and conducting additional investigation, the attorney general is not under investigation for false statements or perjury in his confirmation hearing testimony and related written submissions to Congress."

Worth noting: "It's unclear how actively federal authorities pursued the matter in the months before Sessions' interview with Mueller’s investigators. It's also unclear whether the special counsel may still be pursuing other matters related to Sessions and statements he has made to Congress — or others — since his confirmation," Levine writes.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
7 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats' billionaires tax explained

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There is now legislative language behind the push to tax American billionaires on unrealized capital gains, as Sen. Ron Wyden last night released his 107-page plan.

Why it matters: This would be a sea change in U.S. tax policy, which has only applied to realized gains (otherwise known as income).

53 mins ago - World

Scoop: Blinken protests Israel settlements approval in "tense" phone call

Benny Gantz (L) and Tony Blinken. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/Pool/AFP via Getty

Secretary of State Tony Blinken protested the decision to approve 3,000 new housing units in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank during a tense phone call on Tuesday with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, three Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: This is the first time new construction in the settlements has been approved since President Biden assumed office, and the Biden administration had been privately pressing the Israeli government not to proceed.

The startup that wants to disrupt big internet providers

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

A new startup backed by funding from AOL founder Steve Case and Laurene Powell Jobs wants to break up broadband monopolies across the country.

Why it matters: Internet access has been crucial during the pandemic, but it's not ubiquitous, and it can be both slow and unaffordable in swaths of the country.